Economy

Cement manufacturers seek core sector status

R. Balaji Chennai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on March 13, 2012

cement graphic

Simplify taxes and duties, says CMA

The cement industry has asked for a simplified excise duty regime, nil import duty on inputs and a single rate of sales tax under the proposed GST as a part of its Budget wish list. In a pre-Budget memorandum, the Cement Manufacturers Association has pointed out that the excise duty on cement is at a high, next only to luxury products, and the structure on cement and clinker has become complicated with a specific component and ad valorem linked to various slabs of retail prices.

Cement should be treated on par with other core infrastructure industries, such as coal and steel, which face 5 per cent excise, and the duty structure should be simplified.

The excise duty should be simplified to either ad valorem or rate per tonne, independent of the retail price.

It has urged the Centre to treat cement as a ‘declared goods' under Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act to put it on par with core sector goods lie coal, steel, crude oil, jute and cotton yarn.

Import imbalance

The industry is dependent on imports for coal, which attracts 5 per cent import duty, and pet coke and gypsum, which face 2.5 per cent. But buyers are free to import the finished product cement without any import duty.

To correct this imbalance and provide the domestic manufacturers a level playing field, the import duties on raw materials and inputs should be waived and a basic import duty levied on import of cement.

To help promote sustainable systems and bring down energy cost, the CMA has asked that waste heat recovery systems be treated on par with renewable energy; and also that import duty on tyre chips may be abolished and the item removed from the negative list to enable imports as it is an alternative to the more expensive coal.

GST regime

In the context of the proposed introduction of Goods and Services Tax from April, the industry suggests that a single rate of tax may be imposed from the first year as opposed to the plan of a dual rate for the first three years.

The objective of the GST is to simplify the tax regime and ensure uniformity. If State GST is proposed under the dual rates, the laws governing it should be uniform across the country, dispute resolution common across the States with a common authority for advance ruling and State-level exemptions and incentives continued under GST.

The Cenvat and input tax credit systems, which attract the most litigation, should be simplified and unambiguous, the CMA has said.

Published on March 13, 2012
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